MUSSELBURGH – Monday June 28th
Going – Good to Firm (Firm in places) easing to Good (Good To Firm in places) by Race Three.
The rain threatened during the afternoon and finally arrived before the start of the first race. It rained on and off through the evening, a particularly heavy burst half hour before the race sending me to refuge in the Rosebery Café. No real complaints about the weather from this quarter, given that we have had a very dry summer so far, the ground looking quite parched in the Musselburgh area.
6.55 2m 0-65 Amateur Riders’ Handicap
A low key card stared with one of the Bollinger Series of events for Gentleman Amateur Riders. Peter Montieth booked useful Simon Walker for LOS NADIS who would pick this lot up and carry them over hurdles. He showed that ability on the flat here, staying on relentlessly up the straight and winning with a large chunk to spare. He won’t often get it this easy, and will pay for the winning margin, but it was a decent effort from one who has rated much higher than the 55 he ran off here.
ANDORN stayed on determinedly without threatening the winner and may not be finished winning if finding softish events.
SUMMER SOUL is in decent form over hurdles and plugged on under pressure from three out, while KYBER could match the pace of the first three from two out and hasn’t been at his best recently.
7.25 5f 0-65 Handicap
This was low grade sprint handicap, but to their credit this bunch had managed 42 wins between them. SILVANUS was the one to make it 43 with what turned out to be a cosy win. His rider worked hard from two out to get him into contention, but once he got his head in front he had a bit to spare. He was eased off close home and in this form might pick up another race soon.
SPEEDY SENORITA showed good pace from stall one, looked held approaching the furlong pole but stuck on well. This was a better effort and she has chances over a sharp five.
SANDWITH ran a respectable race if held form the furlong pole, while the largely frustrating FASLIYANNE kept on late.
RACCOON had a good draw in box two, he’d won 4 out of 6 from stalls 1 or 2 here before this, but he’s not hit peak form this season and weakened from the furlong pole.
7.55 5f Class 5 2yo Stakes
This was probably a decent contest for the level. The time was only 0.32 seconds slower than the handicappers, which is decent for two-year-olds, and the first three were clear.
ALBEN STAR was ready to do his stuff as are so many of Richard Fahey’s youngsters. He led a furlong and a half out and showed a good attitude to run on well for victory. He’s sprint bred and should pick up another contest before long.
Of the first three, EARL WILD looks the one to take forward. He gave me the impression that there’s a bit to work on and he was picking up nicely in the final furlong. I’d be surprised if he didn’t win a race or two soon.
MISS MEDIATOR represented solid form from York and kept on if held in the last 100 yards. She will win a race and would be a fine prospect in a fillies only contest.
FLEET CAPTAIN is a strong colt who seemed to find this sharp five too quick for him. He was eased after being hampered in some scrimmaging at the furlong pole and will produce better in time.
8.25 1m 4f 100yds 0-70 Handicap
Five finished in close proximity here which suggested they have pretty much established their level. Consistent PARK’S PRODIGY ran close up to a generous pace set by Balwearie, took over a furlong out and battled well to hold on. He lacks nothing in commitment.
Held up off the pace set by his stable companion, ROYAL STRAIGHT stayed on from three out without quite getting close enough to threaten a win. His best chances will come held up off a strong pace as he’s not straightforward.
HYDRANT and GRAND DIAMOND kept on for third and fourth respectively, neither beaten far.
BALWEARIE has had an interrupted career, including a 27-month break followed by a broken jaw incurred when he slipped up last season, but retains some ability and enthusiasm. He went at a fair lick and kept battling once challenged; only giving way in the final furlong. He might have to be aimed very low but he does seem capable of a win.
SAFEBREAKER was pushed along four out and lost touch, being eased down considerably once booked for sixth.
8.55 1m 0-65 Handicap
In-form Paul Hanagan scored a third victory of the evening as he found a gap in the final furlong to produce GLENLUJI to win here. This trip was more to the winner’s liking than the six furlongs he ran over last time. He probably needs covering up, he won in similar fashion over a mile at Ayr, and the gap appeared nicely inside the final furlong.
SAN SILVESTRO is a fair performer at this level and stayed on for second.
QUEEN’S SCHOLAR was making only her fourth appearance and kept on having been ridden up with the pace. Mark Johnston might squeeze a small race out of this one.
ZABEEL TOWER challenged two out, leading briefly at the furlong pole, but was then held in the last 100 yards. He looks handicapped to his mark.
9.25 7f 30yds 0-55 3yo Handicap
The card closed with a weak looking three-year-old handicap.
The first two showed more determination than the others and had a good set to from two out. CHOC’A’MOCA ran a good race at Catterick earlier and seems at his best round a sharp track. He just got the best of RESCENT in a finish of bobbing heads. Both are ordinary but at least show some willingness and you need that on your side at this level.
MONSIEUR PONTAVEN kept on for third having been in the rear for the first half of the race. The step up from six furlongs seemed to suit and he looks likely to stay a mile. It should be noted that on my past performance on judging ideal distances on the flat you should lump on if he drops back to six furlongs!
The fourth COOLELLA was held from two out.
I’d like to get to a few more meetings if I could, but work commitments are limiting scope at the moment. Perth midweek meeting report to follow and then I’m off to Catterick next Wednesday, taking in the meeting on the way to visit family and friends in the South of England. The report from Perth Sunday meeting on July 11th relies on AtTheRaces! Hopefully I’ll take in a couple of Musselburgh meetings during July and then finish the month by taking in Ladies’ Day at Hamilton.